With the current renovation boom, the NSW Government wants to help ensure that homeowners and renovators are aware of the risks associated with removing hazardous materials from their homes, such as asbestos, lead, treated timber, volatile compounds and powdered materials.
Asbestos and other hazardous materials can be very harmful to your health. Home renovators are strongly encouraged to obtain information on these hazardous materials and to adopt safe working practices when renovating, especially when working on older homes.
NSW Health and the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation have developed DIY Safe, a list of potentially hazardous materials found in buildings and tips for safe renovation practices.
Until the mid-1980's, asbestos was widely used in a range of home building materials. If your house was built or renovated during this era, it is likely you have asbestos in your home.
Removing or working with building materials that contain asbestos can release asbestos fibres, creating a health risk. These fibres are too small to see, but if they are breathed in they can cause an incurable cancer known as mesothelioma as well as other illnesses.
Removing or disturbing asbestos is a dangerous and complicated process best carried out by professionals who have completed the necessary training.
Bonded asbestos is when asbestos fibres are bonded to another material, such as a cement or resin binder. A WorkCover licence is needed to remove 10 square metres or more of bonded asbestos.
Further information about handling and disposing of asbestos and other hazardous materials is available from the following:
The asbestos awareness website provides renovators with access to many existing sources of information about how to deal safely with asbestos products.
Office of Environment and Heritage
59-61 Goulburn Street, Sydney
PO Box A290, Sydney South NSW 1232
Tel: 9995 5000 (switch)
TTY: 9211 4723 (for hearing impaired callers)
For information on collection, storage, transport and disposal of asbestos waste.
Department of Local Government
(for details of your local council)
5 O’Keefe Avenue
Nowra NSW 2541
Tel: 4428 4100
NSW Department of Health
73 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
Tel: 9391 9000
TTY: 9391 9900
For information on asbestos and health risks, and do-it-yourself safely dust and fume hazard information.
WorkCover Authority of NSW
92-100 Donnison Street
GOSFORD NSW 2250
Tel: 4321 5000
For information on safe working practices, asbestos licences or asbestos in general.